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Modern Winners and Losers

In case you missed the big news, this happened:



Dig Through Time, Treasure Cruise, and Birthing Pod are banned.

Golgari Grave-Troll is no longer banned.



Treasure Cruise is banned.

Worldgorger Dragon is no longer banned.



Treasure Cruise is restricted.

Gifts Ungiven is no longer restricted.

The announcement is not as surprising as I thought it would be. I'm certain everyone will have varying opinions about whether this was necessary and we can talk about it until we're all blue in the face. Having said that, we have to accept it and analyze the post-banning world. I'm here to analyze the damage that was done, and talk about how things may look going forward. While I would certainly enjoy engaging in dialogue about the B&R announcement, just know that I'm not here to discuss if it was the right decision for the Modern format: Wizards gave their answer, and I think I'll stick by it.

I'm here to focus on the impact this will have on the format, and talk about a list that myself and a few close people have come up with. We will talk about this extensively, and this list can certainly be added to, or subtracted from. The impact will be great, and there may very well be some oversight. This is the list for cards affected in Modern:

Chaz's B&R Announcement Impact List


Immediate Winners

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00


Slight Winners

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00



$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00



$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00


Like with any B&R Announcement, there is always some immediate impact. We have seen this before with the unbanning of Bitterblossom: one single card has the potential to affect many others. What we have this time around is the removal a card that was around since Modern was a format. There was never a time in Modern without Birthing Pod, so its removal will impact many cards. Whether these pan out or not, we'll just wait and see. These could be a few cards to monitor with the Modern Pro Tour on the horizon.



First up is Vengevine. This card always comes in and out of conversation in the Modern format. It seems like every time something graveyard-related could happen in Modern, Vengevine makes an appearance. We saw the same conversation when Deathrite Shaman got banned in Modern. There was a small bump to the price of Vengevine, and then there was a decline when such a graveyard strategy didn't pan out. Fast forward to today and the card always seems to float around the $10-$14 range. I for one was picking these up right after Deathrite Shaman was banned, for roughly $10 a copy. I ended up stuck with them until buy-listing them this past summer. In hindsight, a little more patience would have paid off. Even if there is a graveyard-based deck with the newly released Golgari grave-Troll, I don't think Vengevine could increase that much. The talk on twitter seems to be:

does dredging 2 more cards at a time make it any more viable?




Lotleth Troll and Bloodghast

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

I will lump the rest of these cards together, simply because they would probably be played alongside Vengevine. Much like Vengevine, Bloodghast saw a similar trajectory when Deathrite Shaman was banned. Lotleth Troll would also be a player in these strategies and it certainly lends itself to being a great discard engine. Going through the deck database on MTGGoldfish, I was able to pull up this Modern Jund Scavenge list. Whether we have the makings of a new deck is unknown, but like twitter mentioned, I don't think Golgari Grave-Troll enables much more than what was currently existing in Modern (e.g. Stinkweed Imp).

Scavenging Ooze

I think that graveyard hype certainly lets Scavenging Ooze step back into the spotlight. A card that needs no explaining, but one can certainly eye it as a potential new all-star should there be a shift to a graveyard, or aggressive Modern metagame. Even with multiple printings, the card maintains a premium price tag.

Here on MTGGoldfish, Scavenging Ooze is listed as #14 overall most played creature in Modern. The list includes Pod-related creatures taking up slots in the top 10, so I'm sure this list will change soon.

Paired with old friends like Liliana of the Veil, Tarmogoyf, or even Dark Confidant, this may be the chance for midrange strategies like Junk and Jund to make a resurgence. They certainly have seen their success as archetypes in the Modern format in the past. There have been some musings on social media about how players could lean on these as a “safe” deck choice in an unknown format. Tarmogoyf would also see a very big increase since it no longer competes with Treasure Cruise for cards in the graveyard. We will most likely see an increase for the best creature in Magic. The card was also adopted by blue strategies before (e.g. Tarmo-Twin), so who says tarmogoyf can't find itself alongside Delver of Secrets once again?


Eidolon of the Great Revel


Eidolon of the great Revel needs to be back on this list. I think with the boogeyman gone from Modern, there might be much more appeal to play the format. What better way to battle on Magic Online or real life than with Mono Red? Eidolon of the Great Revel is staple in the deck and could very well be just as popular as it was before Treasure Cruise. If players are relying on casting spells like Liliana of the Veil, Tarmogoyf, and Snapcaster Mage, then this card seems very good again. Eidolon of the Great Revel was played as a 4-of in Burn that took up 6% of the field in all of 2014 Modern tournament, which is only 3% behind Affinity.

Intermediate Winners


$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00


On the intermediate list I have Snapcaster Mage and Splinter Twin. I left these here because I think these cards will become popular again. Splinter Twin was already quite popular in the pre-Treasure Cruise Modern metagame. I'm sure we will see some variation make a return, whether it be a basic UR Twin list, or perhaps the RUG Tarmo-Twin adopted by Patrick Dickmann. As for Snapcaster Mage, there could be a chance we also see some classic UWR Control lists emerge from these announcements. With value spells like Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile around to combat the looming fair mid-range lists, I wouldn't rule out this possibility. Perhaps we will see an appearance of this next card?


Moving on to the cards I feel may have a neutral effect:


Jeskai Ascendancy

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I wouldn't rule out Jeskai Ascendancy just yet. The removal of Treasure Cruise in the format may mean it will have to settle for a home in a more fair deck, though that certainly doesn't mean it can't compete. While I wouldn't be able to construct a decklist for you, I'm sure there are others bold enough to continue on without Treasure Cruise and construct a deck around Jeskai Ascendancy. There is still a perceived notion that the card is very powerful and can easy be utilized in broken strategies.This may be in the form of a different approach to a combo, or just utilizing different cards altogether. This one can really go either way, which is why I classify it as neutral.


Siege Rhino

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Siege Rhino is a heavyweight all-star may have taken a hit with this recent banning, though I don't think we've seen the last of this Rhino. Some pro players have said this card is strictly better than Bloodbraid Elf, which is a bold statement. If we see a return of safe archetype choices in Junk and Jund, then we can assume this will be a part of that strategy. While incredible in the Birthing Pod deck, it was also played in non-Pod decks as well, like this Junk list. The card is still very good without the Birthing Pod engine. While its mark on Modern remains to be seen after this announcement, players can be optimistic.



As for the failed speculation targets, these are very obvious. There's always going to an opportunity, but gambling on banned/restricted announcements seems very risky, more so than a regular speculation target. Let's not turn every B&R announcement into more Bitterblossom fiascos and try to react a little more logically. Stoneforge Mystic, really? I'm not saying Bloodbraid Elf was the worst idea ever, but wouldn't it be better off to just avoid playing the lottery?



In conclusion, I'm excited to talk about this more on the upcoming episode of the MTGGoldfish Podcast and we will be taking more questions there. I really think this needed to happen in Modern in order to force some changes and hopefully bring more diversity into the format. Just remember, it takes time for these Eternal formats to gain an identity. The demand for Modern is there which is why they created Pro Tour events. Let's respect what Wizards is doing, and trust that they can bring this format inline with a revered one like Legacy.


Thanks for reading,




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